10 New Year's Resolutions We All Need

10 New Year's Resolutions We All Need

Making positive life changes is important, but doing it for the right reasons is even more crucial.
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A fresh new year--2018--is here and everyone is stressed about deciding on what their New Year's resolutions will be. Many people try to work out more, lose weight, eat healthier or be happier. But, the issue with most of these is not the idea itself, but the reason behind why we’re doing it. Oftentimes, people tackle resolutions to look more like the people on social media, please someone else or just because they think they, too, need a resolution. These reasons won't help you to stick to your goal because they aren’t things you want personally; they’re more intended to impress other people. So, you have to find resolutions that are meaningful to you. Here are a few ideas:

1. Make time for yourself.

We’re all guilty of saying "yes" to everything and spreading ourselves too thin. Say "no" a few times and start setting aside 10-15 minutes a day to relax and read a book, drink some tea, stretch or meditate. It will be good for you to decompress and de-stress. Take an extra few minutes in the shower to appreciate the warmth or maybe just sit in the car and sing along to the radio for an extra three minutes. Whatever makes you feel better, do that.

2. Drink more water.

Drinking water is a common resolution. But, where most people fall short is not making it easily accessible. Buy a water bottle or two and leave one on your desk or in your backpack. Leave another near the couch or car or somewhere you spend a lot of time. There are even apps that can remind you to drink more water and keep track of how much you’re drinking throughout the day.

3. Go to bed earlier.

I’m so guilty of staying up late scrolling through the Internet or e-mails on my phone. In all reality, I’d get an extra half hour or even an hour of sleep if I cut this out of my life. Not only will I get more sleep, but I’ll fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly with less blue-light exposure before bedtime.

4. Turn off excessive notifications.

Silence those apps that send you notifications that you ignore every day. There is no point in getting extra notifications and everytime my phone buzzes, I usually spend an extra few minutes clicking around on it when I could be doing something productive. As a blanket solution, you can even turn on "Do Not Disturb." Alarms still work and if someone really needs you, they’ll call you and they’ll at least call twice. That’s when your phone will start ringing.

5. Go outside more.

Living in MInnesota, many of us stay inside at all costs during the winter months. But going outside, getting a little sun and feeling a little bit of a painful breeze can be a great way to relax. To encourage myself to do this, I often take a quick ride to one of our hundreds of local parks. It’s so nice to get off campus and away from all of the noise for a little bit.

6. Pick up some trash.

Clean up clutter in your home, car or even on your street or local beach. Cleaning up trash will help you to declutter your mind and your surroundings, making you more calm and relaxed. And, cleaning up your local street, park or beach will make you feel really good.

7. Get a cute journal and use it.

Make lists and stop worrying so much about forgetting things. Write down your feelings or what happened that day or week. Maybe even start a bullet journal. Just write down things that you want to get out of your mind, whether it be a reminder or an emotion or thought.

8. Listen to new music.

Music speaks to everyone in so many different ways. But, the radio gets so boring playing the same five songs over and over again. Do yourself a favor and just start searching around the internet. Discover new songs you love and new songs you hate, share with friends or keep it to yourself. We all hear things differently and music affects us differently depending on how we feel or what we listen for. Find what you need and discover new things. It will feel pretty cool to share new songs with friends.

9. Tell the people you love that you love them more often.

We all need a reminder sometimes that someone cares and loves us. Remind your friends and family of it often. It will make you feel good and it will make them feel even better.

10. Remember what’s truly important in life.

Sometimes we all get so caught up in the mundane everyday tasks that we forget to make ourselves happy. Set goals and smash them. Make time to do what you really love and stop wasting time on what you don't. We’re all only here for such a short period of time; there truly is no time to waste being unhappy.

New Year's Resolutions can be stressful, but they can also be wonderful. Plan ahead and set yourself up for success. Create goals that matter to you. It’s really hard to change your life overnight, but with some planning, it can be easy to stick to new positive, happy changes. And, even if you didn't prepare for January 1, you can start your resolution in a week or a month. Whenever you're ready and feel set up for success. Go out in the world and make it a more beautiful and happy place; 2018 is waiting!

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Meditation Is Not A Perfect Practice, But It's Still Worth Your Time

You'll thank me later.

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nczupek
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I began doing yoga a few years ago, and I instantly loved it. The combination of stretching, mental relaxation, and emotional release is amazing. It creates a sense of zen and peace in my life that I can use during the stress that comes from school, work, and everyday life. But the one part of yoga that I am not in love with is the meditation aspect.

I absolutely dread meditation. I do not know what it is, but I can never quite seem to get my mind to quiet down. No matter how hard I try, there is always a million thoughts running through my brain. "Did I finish that homework assignment?" "Am I breathing too loud? Can other people hear me?" I become so focused on other things happening around me that I just can't seem to calm down and relax.

But meditation is not about just clearing your mind and going completely blank. It is about focusing on a single thought, object, or intention and just allowing those emotions and feelings to overcome you. Focusing on one intention in your life allows you to become focused and re-centered. Meditation is not a set in stone practice, it is adaptable based on each person's needs.

There are seven general types of meditation: loving-kindness meditation, body scanning meditation, mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, kundalini yoga, Zen meditation, and transcendentalism meditation. Each of these general types can be adapted to fit ones specific needs in that time. All seven of these meditations offer stress release options to help with daily stressors and inconveniences.

There is no perfect way to meditate. Meditation can also be as simple as just closing your eyes and simply breathing for a few seconds while focusing on one important thing in your life to help you remain grounded. There is no one set meditation type that works for all people. Some people enjoy all of the forms or even several of them, while others such as myself strictly enjoy the body scanning meditation.

The body scanning meditation focuses on scanning the body for areas of tension and to encourage the release of tension in that part of the body. Once the release occurs, the whole body can begin to relax even more. It usually starts by focusing on the toes and relaxing then moving up the legs, the torso the arms to the fingertips, and all the way through to the tip of the head.

My ideal meditation type is not for everyone. Playing around with the different types of meditations is the best way to find an ideal type of meditation that fits what the body needs. Unlike with most things, practice doesn't make perfect. Practicing the art of meditation just helps to refine the overall calm and zen that is felt.

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nczupek

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